Current institution:

Post-doctoral Researcher

Environmental Decisions Group

School of Biological Sciences – UQ

St Lucia QLD 4072


T: +61 7 3365 2769


Research interests

  Seasonal dynamics of subtropical reefs

Conservation and management prioritisation        in tropical marine environments

Dispersal connectivity in conservation

Managing subtropical and temperate reefs for  climate change




PhD – University of Queensland

MSc in Marine Resource Development and Protection –  Heriot Watt University, Scotland

Dipl.Ing in Groundwater Engineering – University of Technology Dresden, Germany


 Current projects

Reef communities and their conservation on the tropical – temperate latitudinal gradient: Japan

In collaboration with J.D. Reimer at the University of the Ryukyus and many other colleagues in Japan and Australia, I am interested in finding commonalities and differences in transitional reef communities between the northern and the southern hemisphere.  In June/ July 2015, we are in the field collecting data, ranging from Tateyama (~35 deg N) to Iriomote Island (~23 deg N), with a team of 5 including Brigitte!


Cleaner wrasse at work in Tateyama


Ecological dynamics and conservation of subtropical coral reef communities of east Australia in changing climate

This project aims to benchmark and conserve the dynamics of subtropical reefs; personally I am biased towards fishes and changes in their functional roles along the latitudinal gradient.  Highly connected to their neighbouring tropical coral reefs, high-latitude subtropical reefs host transitional communities characterised by a biogeographical overlap of tropical, subtropical and temperate species. They occur in distinct marine ecoregions as shown in this map.

In collaboration with John Pandolfi and Brigitte Sommer, I examine seasonal changes in communities of fishes, benthos and invertebrates on subtropical reefs from the Southern GBR to central NSW.

Subtropical reefs are threatened by both a changing climate and urbanisation. Their role as potential refugia for tropical species gives them high conservation and management priority, but conservation decisions are still hampered by our lack knowledge about them, and how to use it.  In a workshop of subtropical reef researchers and managers in August 2010 we identified seven research priorities ( for subtropical reefs to enhance their conservation under climate change.


Selected Publications

Beger, M., Sommer, B., Harrison, P.L., Smith, S.D.A. & Pandolfi, J.M. (2014). Conserving potential coral reef refugia at high latitudes. Diversity and Distributions, 20, 245-257.

Makino, A., Yamano, H., Beger, M., Klein, C.J., Yara, Y. & Possingham, H.P. (2014). Spatio-temporal marine conservation planning to support high-latitude coral range expansion under climate change. Diversity and Distributions, 2014, 6-12.

Beger, M., Selkoe, K.A., Treml, E., Barber, P.H., von der Heyden, S., Crandall, E.D. et al. (2014). Evolving coral reef conservation with genetic information. Bulletin of Marine Science, 90, 159-185.

Sommer, B., Harrison, P.L., Beger, M. & Pandolfi, J.M. (2014). Trait-mediated environmental filtering drives assembly at biogeographic transition zones. Ecology, 95, 1000-1009

Lukoschek, V., Beger, M., Ceccarelli, D., Richards, Z.T. & Pratchett, M.S. (2013). Enigmatic declines of Australia’s sea snakes from a biodiversity hotspot. Biological Conservation.

Beger, M., R. Babcock, D. J. Booth, D. Bucher, S. A. Condie, B. Creese, C. Cvitanovic, S. J. Dalton, P. Harrison, A. Hoey, A. Jordan, J. Loder, H. Malcolm, S. W. Purcell, C. Roelfsma, P. Sachs, S. D. A. Smith, B. Sommer, R. Stuart-Smith, D. Thomson, C. C. Wallace, M. Zann, and J. M. Pandolfi. 2011. Research challenges to improve the management and conservation of subtropical reefs to tackle climate change threats. Ecological Management & Restoration 12:e7-e10.

Baker N., Beger M., McClennen C., Ishoda A. and Edwards F. (2011) Reimaanlok: A national framework for conservation area planning in the Marshall Islands. Journal of Marine Biology Article ID 273034, 11 pages, doi:10.1155/2011/273034.

Kininmonth, S., M. Beger, M. Bode, E. Peterson, V. M. Adams, D. Dorfman, D. R. Brumbaugh, and H. P. Possingham. 2011. Dispersal connectivity and reserve selection for marine conservation. Ecological Modelling 222:1272-1282.

Beger M., Simon L., Game E., Ball I., Treml E., Watts M. and Possingham H. P. (2010) Incorporating functional ecological connectivity into spatial decision making for conservation. Conservation Letters 3, 359–368.

Beger M., Grantham H., Pressey R.L., Wilson K.A., Peterson E.L., Dorfman D., Mumby P.J., Lourival R., Brumbaugh D.R. & Possingham H.P. (2010). Conservation planning for connectivity across marine, freshwater, and terrestrial realms. Biological Conservation, 143, 565-575.

Beger, M., and H. P. Possingham. (2008) Environmental factors that influence the distribution of coral reef fishes: modelling occurrence data for broad-scale conservation and management. doi: 10.3354/meps07481. Marine Ecology Progress Series 361: 1-13.

Beger M., McKenna S.A. and Possingham H.P. (2007). Effectiveness of surrogate taxa in the design of coral reef reserve systems in the Indo-Pacific. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2007.00795.x. Conservation Biology 21: 1584–1593

Gerber L.R., Beger M., McCarthy M.A., Possingham H.P. (2005) A theory for optimal monitoring of marine reserves. Ecology Letters 8:829-837



Marxan – Conservation planning software

NRAS Marshall Islands